News / Asia

Australia, Indonesia Seek to Repair Strained Relations; Cattle Deal Reached

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) walks beside Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, September 30, 2013.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) walks beside Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, September 30, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Phil Mercer
— Indonesia has announced that it will increase the number of live cattle the country receives from Australia.  Exports were temporarily suspended by Canberra in 2011 because of allegations of cruelty in Indonesian slaughterhouses.  Later on, the trade resumed following the introduction of new guidelines, but exports were well below previous levels. 
 
Indonesia has agreed to buy more Australian cattle following a visit to Jakarta by new Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
 
The livestock industry has been a contentious issue between the Asia-Pacific neighbors since Australia’s former Labor government banned exports after revelations of mistreatment in Indonesian abattoirs in 2011. Exports have resumed, although they have been at less than half their previous levels.
 
Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says the new agreement is good for farmers.
 
“We have been in close negotiations about increasing the quota. It's great to see that this has now crystallized into an extra 53,000 head of cattle in this quota on top of the 46,000 that were already going,” said Joyce.
 
Canberra is also softening its position on Indonesia's plan to invest in pastoral land in northern Australia.  Prior to the election, in September, senior Australian officials had denounced the plan as against Australia's national interests. They now insist that foreign investment will help economic growth in Australia’s under-developed north.
 
Another issue that has strained bilateral relations is asylum seekers. Jakarta had argued that Abbott’s plan to tow migrant boats back to Indonesia would violate its sovereignty.  That controversial policy is now unclear; Canberra is now saying its navy will not force vessels all the way back to Indonesia, but would instead only be towed out of Australian waters.
 
“Can I just scotch this idea that the Coalition's policy is or ever has been tow-backs? Our policy, which we've repeated ‘til we're blue in the face, is that we reserve the right to turn boats around where it's safe to do so. Again, my object here is to stop the boats,” explained Abbott.
 
A steady stream of unauthorized arrivals has sailed into Australian waters in recent years. Abbott says that stemming the flow is not just about protecting the nation’s maritime borders, but is also about saving lives.  Dozens of people have drowned already this year while attempting to make the hazardous crossing on unseaworthy boats from southern ports in Indonesia.
 
The Australian leader is now back home but will return to Indonesia next week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on the resort island of Bali.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid